Jan Choinski hailed a day to remember after marking his Wimbledon debut with a stunning victory.
The 27-year-old, who qualifies as British through his Southampton-born mother and is supported by the LTA’s Pro Access Programme, was making his maiden appearance at the All England Club and managed to avoid a seeded opponent – but was still handed a tough test against Dusan Lajovic.
A veteran of the ATP Tour, Lajovic beat compatriot Novak Djokovic and also Andrey Rublev to win the Srpska Open back in April, and was highly fancied for this contest.
But despite losing a hard-fought first set, Choinski remained undeterred and after taking the second set in a tie-break, he eventually ran away with the contest to claim a 5-7 7-6(4) 6-2 6-2 victory.
He said: “I feel absolutely amazing. The crowd was electric tonight at my court.
“Even though it was one of the smaller courts, I felt carried by the crowd, carried by the whole team, the whole LTA support that was there.
“I never doubted that I could win this match, even though I went one set down. I just focused on the things that mattered, focused on improving my game, adapting my game to the conditions today.
“I always focused on being positive, playing aggressive. Especially I felt like the turning point of the match was the second set tiebreak. I got a great start in that tiebreak. From that point when I won the second set, I told myself: ‘I’m not letting this go, I’m going to go for it.’
“It’s just an amazing day. I’m happy that I could produce some good tennis.”
It was an incredibly special moment for Choinski, who was watching Wimbledon while battling Covid and mononucleosis a year ago, and has worked his way to the top 200 of the ATP Rankings after coming through illness and multiple serious injuries.
And he has been rewarded for his efforts with a second round match against 17th seed Hubert Hurkacz, who beat Roger Federer in the Swiss’ final Wimbledon match to reach the semi-final two years ago.
The two are both big servers with groundstrokes well-suited to the grass courts of the All England Club, and Choinski is relishing the chance against a very familiar opponent.
“We had great contact as juniors. We played many doubles tournaments together,” added Choinski.
“As a matter of fact, we won Roehampton, a junior grade one tournament, leading up to Wimbledon in 2014. Then we also played Wimbledon boys’ doubles together.
“He’s done very well for himself. I’m happy to see him where he is right now. I’m thankful for the challenge and thankful to be able to play him in the second round.”
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